I missed an opportunity to make the world a better place today, and I’m still kicking myself for it. It’s an old adage that’s biting me in the butt: She who hesitates is hesitant.

Chalk it up to being suddenly shy, or just the fear of feeling like a fool, but today I didn’t follow my gut instinct and now I’m wondering just what the heck it was that held me back. Almost daily I claim to have a burning desire to change the world, and yet when a golden moment presents itself to make a difference, I drop the metaphorical ball.

Specifically, when I walked into a fairly empty restaurant this afternoon, there were two other people already seated at two different tables. I was ushered to a third table. As I perused the menu, I thought about the other two diners. Did they really prefer to eat alone, or would they welcome some small-talk conversation? I really wanted to invite them both to join me, but I couldn’t seem to form the words.

And why not?

Perhaps it was the fear of rejection. Or that my intentions would be misinterpreted. Maybe they would think I was trying to hustle them into buying my meal. Whatever it was that kept me from reaching out to another human being, I’m sorry tonight that I succumbed to it.

In “the good old days” didn’t people used to speak to each other while they stood in the grocery check-out lines? Didn’t they used to nod and say hello on the street? Didn’t diners prefer the company of other diners rather than sticking their nose in a book or talking on their cell phones while they chowed down? Wasn’t there an element of human contact in our daily living that seems to be absent these days?

Will you help me with this? If every one of us pledges to reach out to another human being at least once a day, think of the difference we could make in the world. It’s such a small thing, but if we are truly committed to making the world a kinder, softer, gentler place, it can start this very minute, right here where we live.

One diner at a time.